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Participative democracy and civil dialogue

Does Europe Care about Brexit?

On the evening of Tuesday 14 June, the European Movement International invited a number of distinguished speakers to discuss whether the rest of Europe cares about Brexit in light of the upcoming UK Referendum on its EU membership on 23 June. The Panel, which was moderated by Peter Foster, Europe Editor of the Daily Telegraph, put forward their beliefs to the audience that Europe does indeed care about Brexit and passionately wish that the UK public vote to remain in the European Union.

David McAllister, MEP for Germany, shared his view that the historic decision on the 23rd will be one that will not only affect future generations of British citizens but for all those within the EU. A vote to leave in his mind would make the Union different but not better and that the UK should remain and together as 28 members we could make the EU better. This feeling that Europe does care greatly about the referendum was echoed again by Lucinda Creighton, former Europe Minister for Ireland, as she emphasised the important role that the UK plays in the bloc, particularly as Britain was one of the strongest advocate’s for the free market, one of the core pillars of the European Union.

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As a former Europe Minister for Ireland, Ms. Creighton put forward the Irish perspective and highlighted the crucial role that the EU had in bringing about and sustaining peace in Northern Ireland after decades of trouble. Whatever way the vote next Thursday goes, however, the outcome will be a catalyst for Europe ant not necessarily one that will be negative – a thought shared by Giles Merritt, Founder and chairman of Friends of Europe. The campaign within Britain was one that he felt highlighted the problems that the Union faces and that these must be addressed by an stronger EU of 28 member states with a leading UK voice.

The economic aspects were stressed by Prof. Danuta Hübner, MEP for Poland, as she outlined that there is nothing like the single European market. In particular for the area of financial services which the UK is such a heavyweight figure in. In this regard, Britain should remain and the entire bloc wants them gravely to do so. The Director of Social Platform, Pierre Baussand, agreed with the previous speakers on the panel that Europe did indeed care about the issue of the UK Referendum. But he argued that the euroscepticism found within Britain was not an isolated case but reflected the need within the EU to find an improved sense of direction which had been lost in times past.

With the vote on the horizon, the floor was made open to Q&A as the audience were keen to put forward their questions and thoughts to the panel. Various issues were remarked upon such as what kind of electioneering pitches could be made to voters on the streets, the strategy campaign implemented by both sides, and how the EU could go further as a stronger and more united union. The event came to a close as the speakers made their closing remarks on why Europe does greatly care about the upcoming UK Referendum.

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The European Movement International was delighted with the outcome of the evening and would like to thank all those who attended the event. In particular, we would like to extend our since thanks and gratitude to those who spoke and contributed so positively to the panel:

  • Prof. Danuta Hübner MEP, Chair of Committee on Constitutional Affairs (Poland);
  • David McAllister MEP, Chair of the European Parliament Delegation for Relations with the United States (Germany);
  • Lucinda Creighton, former Europe Minister (Ireland);
  • Giles Merritt, Founder & Chairman, Friends of Europe;
  • Pierre Baussand, Director, Social Platform;

moderated by Peter Foster, Europe Editor, The Daily Telegraph.

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